RIFF OV THE WEEK: THE 2002 EDITION / SCHUBERT’S BIRTHDAY
It’s true. Today is Schubert’s (also known as Stockhausen’s cat, king of cats) birthday. He’s outlived his owner for 8 years now. In celebration of his admirable durability, we’re listening to riffs from 2002 – a year that has nothing whatsoever to do with anything.
Last week, our best pal George Lynch won with a pick that doesn’t even remotely resemble a goddamn riff, when there were three perfectly actual riffs by Deströyer 666 to choose from. Congratulations on defying all logic.
- In my marriage vows, I promised my dear wife one thing, and one thing only: that I would “never, ever, in a million years” run a nü metal Riff ov the Week. That being said, and this should be a surprise to no one, I’m a horrible husband and a damned liar. I have been moved by W’s belligerent nagging and the viral expansion of the #GiveThePeopleWhatTheyWant and #NüMetalOrNoMetal hashtags. Plus, after crafting those dank memes, it’s not possible for me to hate myself more than I already do. So… next week, we’re only taking nü metal riffs. Fucking kill me now.
- Send your *barf* nü metal riffs to firstname.lastname@example.org. The first 15 are in (and are also the worst fucking humans).
Vomitory dragged the corpse of death metal through the 2000’s, and for that we should be grateful. This riff is rudimentary, but so is a cudgel, and those are still pretty good at opening skulls – 3:00.
2002. Considered by many to be the year of the dark age of metal. People assume that the likes of Puddle of Mudd and Trapt were the only options for metalheads. Those people would be wrong. Across the Atlantic, Leon Macey crafted an album telling of Roman gladiators, centurions, and ritual bloodshed, backed by epic sprawling riffs bourne of Morbid Angel worship and twisted beyond form. The scary part? This was only the beginning for him and Rayner Cross as they would venture from the Roman Empire to the depths of unconquerable space with subsequent albums. Simon says skip to 1:18 and behold.
Decapitated’s Nihility helped us all remember in 2002 that death metal friggin’ rules. The opening riff of “Mother War” is everything the name implies, and is also Schubert’s favorite riff. Make the right choice.
Nordling Rites Ov Karhu
2002 saw the release of many fine albums, so shut up. High On Fire is better than these other flushers here. “Surrounded By Thieves” was a a damn good riff-fest, and at around 3:45, the song starts a particularly jammy riff.
In 2002 the whiffs definitely overpowered the riffs. It took a big of digging, but I found the winner: the title track from Opeth’s Deliverance. Start at 9:50 and go through to the end. That chuggy, death metal riff interplaying with the lighter picking. Yeah it’s four minutes, but there’s a lot going on here. Easily the best outro ever recorded.
2002 was a great year for me. I was 10 years old when I watched Brazil win the World Cup for the fifth time. Ronaldo – one of my all time favorites – was a killer during the whole tournament. Little more than one month later, this GEM dropped. This is one of my favorite albums ever, and it has plenty of good riffs. I am, however, going to pick the low hanging fruit because I want to win, fuck you guys. The main riff in this song will stay in your head for the rest of your life.
This band from Ukraine holds very special place in my heart. Started as Pestilence wannabes, they quickly developed their own style, one you will never find anywhere else. Sure, the level of production is “DIY” at best, despite the fact it was all recorded at the studio. Bear in mind – it was a time when the phenomena of 90s in post-USSR space ended (changes in life don’t follow the calendar changes that quickly), so the sound quality is mediocre. However, it’s easy to forget the production quirks, because out-of-the-box thinking plays a pretty crucial role here. Unusual compositional structures paired with widespread use of dissonances and atonal touches to lead melodic lines makes a very clear image of outer space in your head. A couple of different keyboard lines played simultaneously (piano/ambience/tubular bells) goes fluid so you get almost a psychedelic effect. The only “real” thing to keep you from melting away is the solid pulse of bass thumping you in the back.
The band is long gone. In 2008 I was massively contributing to some metal forum which I don’t wanna remember anymore. I wrote a review about Anamorphosis of Dreams with kiloton of splendid epithets. It stayed almost unnoticed for some period, but time went by and 6 months after, some bloke knocked into PM with the message full of thankful words. It was band leader Edouard Miroschnichenko, who was shocked that someone still remembers the band and enjoys what they had created back in the days of their youth. That message made me sad, actually, because it’s depressing to know that talented people receive no recognition and are forced to drag a miserable existence instead of doing what they do best. The last I heard, he was working as a CD-vendor at the market. It was in 2008. Riff starts at 0:25.
2002 was a very pivotal year for metal. Many of the eventual greats (Mastodon, Agalloch) released their breakthrough albums this year, sowing the seeds that sprouted into the eventual toppling of the then-strong nu metal trend. I choose the riff starting at 2:40 of Soulfly’s “Seek ‘N’ Strike”. This riff encapsulates everything that people despise about simplistic nu metal riffs (and the ridiculous spelling conventions of the time), but Soulfly’s great strength has always been in laying beats for Latin American people to groove to. It is simple, bouncy and a perfect representation of everything post-2002 metal is not.
I honestly don’t know if there is a better opening riff in black metal history than “Tyrants” by Immortal. [Vote for this. – Masterlord]
Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple
A lot of terrible music came out in 2002, cuz nu metal. You know who isn’t nu metal and released a fantastic RIFF MONSTER of a metal album in 2002? An album which went criminally unnoticed by all but those who were already at least somewhat familiar with this artist’s previous legendary band Sleep. That’s right, I’m talking about the man whose sweaty chest I am blessed to call home – Mr. Matt Pike himself. Released in May of 2002 on Relapse Records, Surrounded by Thieves was HoF’s 2nd full length, and it features some of the greatest riffing of Mr. Pikes illustrious career if I do say so myself. The riffing at 2:46 before and after the quick solo is fantastic, the segue into the closing riff at 3:42 is pure riffing-gold. It is physically impossible to not bang your head, tap your toe, or move some part of your body to the rhythm. That’s a scientific fact. Trust me, I’m a nipple. I know these things.
I got something that I’d like to say. I got it and I wanna share. I’m gonna drink my weight in liquor. And I ain’t gonna care. I wanna get good and plastered, baby. Then I wanna get mean. So feel free to start me, honey. I’m an alcohol-fueled machine.
Submitted for the opening riff (about 0:20) that comes back later, but I could easily have noted the one that takes over at (0:41).
This could also fit into last week’s contest, as they’re an Australian band (don’t know why this video says GER) who have mastered the art of riffage. Especially on this song from their 2002 debut album.
Mr. Custodial Arts
Mikey and Ben, doing what they do best… TOGETHER!!! “Pig Latin” starts at 4:07, the tasty little riffamajig is 4:47-5:20. I gibberish.
This song is one of my favorite songs from the only good radio rock band Chevelle. They’re consistent, and this song is no exception. It’s from their best album, in my opinion. The riff from 2:22 until 2:40 may be simplistic, but it really helps the song groove its way into my ears. It also makes me want to break stuff.